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Thread: They want my article but . . . . .

  1. #1
    practical experience, FTW Umgowa's Avatar
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    They want my article but . . . . .

    I just got an e-mail from the editor of a magazine telling me they wanted my article to put on their web site . . . not for putting in their magazine. I don't know how to feel about this. Can I use this as a clip in some way to impress future editors? He said they would leave it on indefinitely. Can I take some solace in thinking that perhaps this is the wave of the future . . . people today prefer to read their magazines on line?? I would think the first thing I should ask is what kind of rights they want, and what freedom do I have to get the article published in another magazine. I would appreciate any thoughts from some of you more experienced freelancers.

    Thanks.

  2. #2
    volitare nequeo AW Moderator veinglory's Avatar
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    It seems to me that online posting is clearly less select than inclusion in the print magazine, and if they put advertising on their pages you are essentially giving them free content.

    If you Google others who have taken the online offer... is that the company you want your work to keep? Can you sell it somewhere else?

  3. #3
    practical experience, FTW JanDarby's Avatar
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    Wait -- is this for free or are they paying you? If they're paying you, but perhaps at a lesser rate than in their mag, is it a reasonable rate, given whatever other perks you might be getting (e.g., being able to use it as a reference)?

    How prestigious is the mag/site? I can see, for example, being willing to take a nominal fee from something like GeekDad, because a) it gets a lot of website views, and b) it is reasonably well known, so it would make a decent reference for future work, and c) it might even lead to future work with that site and ultimately the magzine. Or perhaps something like the Alfred Hitchcock or Ellery Queen franchises(assuming they do something like this, which I don't know), because, again, they're so well known. OTOH, if it's a mag/site no one has ever heard of, there's not much up side to it.

    Also, consider whether the magazine/site is in a niche area that is also your specialty, or a specialty you're looking to pursue. For instance, if you wrote about antique roses, and the mag/site was THE go-to resource for antique rose lovers, and you're planning to specialize in all sorts of gardening stuff (probably broader than just antique roses), where the readers would recognize that where you published was a top-notch place, even if they grow asparagus instead of roses, then that might be worthwhile. OTOH, if it's just a one-off article, not part of some grander career specialization, that would suggest the limited value of the sale.

    And finally, consider whether there is another market for this piece. I've written some stuff specifically for calls-for-subs (by well-known mags/publishers), and if I hadn't made the cut for the magazine, but they'd offered me, say, a half fee for posting on the website, I'd probably have taken it. It clearly wasn't a scam, seeking free/cheap content, because they did run the stories they'd sent out the call for, and I didn't have any other markets for the story without spending more time rewriting it than I did writing it in the first place, so some cash would have been better than none.

  4. #4
    practical experience, FTW jeffo's Avatar
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    Indeed, I think the pay consideration would be key (at least for me). Also keep in mind that "electronic rights" means you're highly unlikely to ever sell that piece again. Once it's on the web, it's there forever. But if you're going to credits and exposure, it could be good.
    Of course, the above is just my opinion -- and likely worth exactly what you paid for it...

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  5. #5
    practical experience, FTW Umgowa's Avatar
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    What do I have to lose?

    If my editor does not buy up any rights, what do I have to lose by saying "yes" to putting my article on his web site? It seems to me this would provide another successful event to point to when I want to impress future editors. Could someone please help me out here? Thanks.

  6. #6
    Black belt in awesome scorpiodragon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Umgowa View Post
    If my editor does not buy up any rights, what do I have to lose by saying "yes" to putting my article on his web site? It seems to me this would provide another successful event to point to when I want to impress future editors. Could someone please help me out here? Thanks.
    Hi Umgowa,

    Was payment for the article on the table from the beginning? This didn't seem clear to me from your first post. If you choose to let the article be posted on the website you can still use it as a clip. Most websites ask for electronic and/or archival rights for a given time period and you'll need to ask the editor what rights they would like. If you have a contract you can also look it over to see if they detail what rights they're asking for.

    What you have to lose is the possibility of shopping the piece around for sale of secondary rights. It really depends on what your goals are with this work and overall for your writing career.
    "Happiness isn't good enough for me. I demand euphoria!" ~ Calvin & Hobbes

  7. #7
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    In virtual Cv you can put a link of your work published and in a simple one you can just mention it and then prove by printed copy or via e-mail, again with its link.

  8. #8
    volitare nequeo AW Moderator veinglory's Avatar
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    They are taking world digital first rights and so should pay for them. And if the other publications on the website are bad/substandard/amateur, it might make you look the same just by being there.

  9. #9
    permaflounced
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    I make it a personal rule never to write for websites. How can you put website content in a writer's portfolio (something all freelancers should have or be developing)? It's impossible. I don't mind if the article's reprinted on the web, but I draw the line at having it printed on the net first.

  10. #10
    practical experience, FTW
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    You can put it in a portfolio the same as anything else, unless they are doing some kind of horrible work for hire deal where you don't even know when it's being posted (a common thing if working for content sites, which you should avoid anyway unless you're at the point where any money is better than no money. I speak from experience).

    You can keep copies of the work you have done and you can include the URLs. The way things are going, sooner or later, refusing to work for a website will leave you high and dry.

  11. #11
    permaflounced
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    Quote Originally Posted by NinjaFingers View Post
    You can put it in a portfolio the same as anything else, unless they are doing some kind of horrible work for hire deal where you don't even know when it's being posted (a common thing if working for content sites, which you should avoid anyway unless you're at the point where any money is better than no money. I speak from experience).

    You can keep copies of the work you have done and you can include the URLs. The way things are going, sooner or later, refusing to work for a website will leave you high and dry.
    I dunno--I guess I'm just a traditionalist.

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